Posted by Max Bellmann

Written by Brandon Sanderson, published in 2005. Summary and review.

Elantris is a rare Brando-Sando stand-alone story. A pretty solid story, though one that I think weaves in some of his own personal beliefs regarding religion (to which he is a Mormon). I don’t think it was anything overt, and I’m not clever enough to parse out anything specific, but I’m confident it’s there. The internet also tells me that his was Sanderson’s first published book. Wild given his body of work… and apparently all within 18 years (as of this writing).

Elantris does feel true to typical Sanderson writing though, in that we get a few different main character perspectives that ultimately tie in together quite nicely. Perhaps it’s due to the fact this is a single story contained in one book (and he usually writes epic, multi-volume tomes), but it does feel bit more one-dimensional than his other writings. I should clarify, that this only applies against himself… compared to most other writers (least those I’ve personally read) he’s still a step ahead… he’s usually 3-4 however.

Elantris was once a great city with near immortal, all powerful people until 10 years ago… things changed with the Shaod, and Elantris fell apart. It’s people transformed from beautiful, intelligent being to decrepit, starving zombie-like people (though should clarify, they mostly retained their minds unlike traditional zombies).

Our story follows Prince Raoden of Arelon who is betrothed to Princess Saren of Teod, but has recently been secretly banished to Elantris by his idiot King of a father as he’s been hit with the Shaod and is destined for doom, gloom, and despair. Elantris is now, essentially, his tomb.

Sarene, now single, decides to honor the marriage (in death) to keep alliances between Teod and Arelon.

Meanwhile we’ve got Hrathen, a high priest of Jaddeth (re: God) and pretty much 2nd in line behind highest order Wern and his loyal, but also kind of a dick up-and-comer priest, Dilaf. Hrathen wants to convert the people of Arelon to Jaddeth before Wern decides he’ll just crush them with armies. Is he doing the lords work for good, or for evil?

Raoden wants to figure out Elantris. Why are people dying (but not actually dying) and why was Elantris so great but now a city of sludge and rubble?

Sarene needs to navigate the complex political structure of Arelon (and dad back home in Teod) to avoid a religious take-over. And she wants to know what really happened with Raoden… she’d never met him, but he seemed pretty awesome. Bummer she couldn’t get hitched.

From this point on, we’ve got some pretty sweet dynamics with Raoden navigating the mafia bosses of Elantris, Sarene getting in with the high class elites of Arelon, and Hrathen trying to keep Dilaf under control while he figures out how to conquer a country without crushing it with force.

TLDR: Elantris was definitely a fun read and certainly right in the wheelhouse of the Sanderson Cosmere universe. Albeit, a singular story that is not near as complex as Mistborn or The Stormlight Archive, but that isn’t an insult. This is a great read. Would Recommend. 4/5 Stars.

Related Post

Leave A Comment